Over the years, I have realized that God often has a person teach the exact thing that they themselves need to be learning.
A couple weeks back, the woman I help teach Sunday School with asked if I wanted to teach the weekend before Valentine's Day. I could do that lesson, she said, because I always liked doing the "holiday" lessons. This is true, I do love teaching the lessons and Thanksgiving (especially Thanksgiving), Christmas, Easter, and anything else I deem holiday worthy. I agreed immediately. Poor Earlene teaches just about every week because, to be honest, I really didn't want to be teaching Sunday School at this point. I teach whenever she asks, but otherwise, I am content to just be in the class and help with whatever I can.
I started thinking about this lesson immediately. I thought about I Corinthians 13, the love chapter. I like that passage, but I don't think it's practical to teach out of this when you're dealing with 4th & 5th graders. It doesn't have the kind of application I was looking for.
Instead I turned to a passage that has been on my heart nearly constantly for over a year now, Romans 12:9-21. There's so much good there, and it tells you how you can show love. You can't be evil to someone just because they've been evil to you, you need to practice hospitality, honor others above yourself, you shouldn't be concerned with peoples' status in life, rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn, do good to your fellow believers and help those who are in need. And maybe most importantly:
"Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good." - Romans 12:21
I've been thinking about this passage all week, and as I was reading it this morning, I realized I wasn't living this.
I've been jealous of people when I should be rejoicing with them.
I haven't been taking care of the needs of the people around me.
I haven't been holding people in honor above myself.
I haven't been showing brotherly love.
I have been looking to avenge instead of leaving that in God's hands.
And I definitely haven't been blessing those who curse me.
God was calling me out. He is calling me out. I can't promise that I'm going to suddenly change and be something perfect, no where close. I can, on the other hand, say that I am going to be working harder. Working to put God back into the center of my life, into the core of who I am. I want God to radiate through me. If God is love, I want to have Him glittering through everything that I do.
So how the heck do I do this? Well, I am started today by apologizing to a friend I have been feeling frustrated with. I gave him a much needed explanation for my behavior, and also apologized for a grouch instead of rejoicing with him in the joy of where his life is taking him. I have been a coward, a jerk, and afraid of change. Afraid for myself and the changes in my life instead of helping expand his joy. It was selfish of me to be like this, and I am tired of this. I know God is too, so between the two of us, I am going to work on healing that relationship and moving on toward something better.
I will be better. Every single day.